Apple Developer Relations:

The size limit of a tvOS app bundle has increased from 200 MB to 4 GB, so you can include more media in your submission and provide a complete, rich user experience upon installation. Also, tvOS apps can use On-Demand Resources to host up to 20 GB of additional content on the App Store.

This could be a big deal for games on the AppleTV. Developers had to really work to get games working at the old 200 MB limit; and since the AppleTV gaming market was so small, most simply didn’t bother.

With this change, some of the more in-depth1 iOS games can be brought over to the AppleTV much more easily, so I hope this serves as a catalyst to get more good iOS games ported to tvOS. I am really hoping for Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy IX.

Also, having up to 20 GB of On-Demand Resources almost puts tvOS games in the same playing field as AAA games on PS4 and Xbox One (in terms of size). This should lead to better games.

However, I am a little worried that this will end up being too little, too late. When tvOS launched, gaming was held back mainly by two policy decisions: the 200 MB binary limit and the inability by developers to require a game controller for a game2. Both of those policies have been fixed, but I’m not sure that it will matter at this point.

The best case scenario that I can think of would be for Apple to release new AppleTV hardware with an A10 chip this March at the supposed iPad event and to release an Apple-branded game controller with it. Bonus points if the game controller is included in the purchase.

Apple turned iOS into a large gaming ecosystem seemingly by accident. That same success won’t happen on tvOS: it will require investment from Apple. In the last six months, they have removed some hurdles and roadblocks. I hope that signals more to come soon.

I don’t think that there is anything to this, but it is interesting that this news dropped on the same night as the Nintendo Switch keynote.

  1. i.e. large. ↩︎

  2. They could support game controllers, but the games also had to work with the standard tvOS remote. The tvOS remote leaves a lot to be desired as a game controller. ↩︎